The government will inject 332 trillion won, or over 295 billion dollars, by 2023 to establish a social security system that is more embracing of citizens in areas of employment, education and health.
Through the system, the government aims to raise the quality of life to within the world's top 20 or near the average level of member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The Health and Welfare Ministry on Tuesday finalized a five-year social security plan and presented this blueprint, whose long-term vision is to build an inclusive society where everyone lives well.
Under the plan, the government will continuously expand the scope of basic livelihood security by easing related regulations and increasing public pensions.
In view of Korea’s rapidly aging population, basic pension payments will be raised while income guarantees for later life will be expanded.
Through stronger insurance coverage, the government also seeks to reduce the public burden on medical costs and thereby raise the disability adjusted life expectancy to 75 years by 2023 and 78 by 2040. The figure stood at 73 years in 2016.
The rate of admissions into state and public kindergartens will also be increased to 40 percent while daylong childcare programs provided at elementary schools will be operated at a larger scale to accommodate 530-thousand children by 2022 compared to some 360-thousand last year.
Free high school education will be implemented from 2021 and more university students will benefit from lower tuition fees depending on their household income level.
Investment in social services will also expand such as for long-term senior nursing homes and childcare facilities with the aim to raise the ratio of social services to gross domestic product(GDP) from five-point-seven percent in 2015 to seven-point-four percent by 2023.
The percentage of low-wage workers will be eventually lowered to 15 percent by 2040 compared to 22 percent in 2017. Low-wage refers to earnings less than two thirds the average pay.
The government also plans to reduce annual work hours from the current over two thousand to the 18-hundred hour range.
With these policy measures, the government seeks to raise South Korea's quality-of-life index which ranked 28th in the OECD in 2017 to a ranking of 20th by 2023 and tenth by the year 2040.